Engaging Youth to Protect the Rights of Victims and Witnesses of Crimes in Croatia

Project description

Explaining the courtroom / Photo by: UNDP archive

In 2007 UNDP Croatia initiated a unique system to support witnesses and victims of crime by introducing in courts WVS offices that render practical information and emotional support to victims prior to, during and after the trial. The 7 offices established by UNDP have helped over 14 000 clients and largely contributed to more efficient criminal proceedings as evidenced by judges, prosecutors and attorneys who are increasingly using their services. The model of support developed by UNDP Croatia has been already recognized internationally as a success story. The CoE, in its Resolution 1784 (2011) and Rec 1952 (2011), has recommended replicating it more widely in Croatia and across SEE. Results achieved so far have made Croatia a regional leader in this vital area of the justice system, and the Government is keen to continue the reform based on the UNDP strategy. This project will focus on formalizing cooperation between CJS institutions and civil sector by using the potential of young enthusiastic people and ensuring their participation in improving and bringing services closer to citizens.

The work of WVS offices is supported by a network of more than 190 young volunteers organized through Victim and Witness Support Service. Project intends to develop capacities of the Victim and Witness Support Service and to diversify its communication channels to better reach out to its clients.

The main project results will be: 1) Strengthened capacity of the CJS to respond to the needs of victims and witnesses and to protect their rights, 2) Improved visibility and accessibility of witness and victim support (WVS) mechanisms and services through establishment of the National call centre for victims. By introducing a national telephone line, access to information will be ensured nationwide. That would clearly present a step forward towards integrated WVS model. The model should be composed in a way to provide assistance and guidance for victims from the moment when the crime was committed and prior to, during and after the court procedure. Together with development of a National WVS Strategy, Action plans and Guidelines, a common toll free line would be a step in that direction and catalyst of the integrated victim-oriented approach. It is necessary to emphasise the importance of including young talented people, future professionals in this type of voluntary work. It will surely give them additional angle when working as, for example, judges or lawyers. Their experience here is an added value not only for proper functioning of the call centre, it is also very beneficial for their personal development as it will enhance their people and problem solving skills.


UNDP has so far, within the scope of the ongoing project, organized two training sessions that total of 18 volunteers, members of the Victim and Witness Support Service  have attended.

The first training (Zadar, 5-9 February 2013) was focused on strategic development, communication skills and initial introduction to preparation of project proposals.

2nd training (Osijek, 10-12 April 2013) was entirely focused on preparation of project proposals  - we believe that gained skills will help them immensely as it is important that as many people as possible are included in fundraising activities of the organization to make foundation for proper functioning of the Victim and Witness Support Service.

In cooperation with Ministry of Justice and Victim and Witness Support Service, we have organized basic training for volunteers of the National Call Centre (Zagreb, 18 January 2013).

When talking about the National Call Centre is important to note that the software and data base are developed by company Metronet. The call centre services will be free of charge to both– clients and the provider of services, that being the WV Support Service.


Donor                               Amount
Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund (DGTTF)
Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands  $24,000
UNDP $48,000


Year Delivery
2011 $167,911
2012 $46,890
1 January 2012 - 30 September 2013
Geographic coverage
Republic of Croatia
Focus Area
Justice and Human Security
Project Coordinator
Violeta Liović
Ministry of Justice, Victim and Witness Support Service